IOWA CITY, Iowa — Earlier this summer University of Iowa senior men’s tennis student-athlete Jason Kerst was selected to take part in the NCAA’s Career in Sports Forum, which was held virtually this year due to COVID-19.
The Career in Sports Forum brought together selected NCAA student-athletes to learn about and explore potential careers in sports, particularly college athletics. This unique virtual programming experience will help student-athletes chart their career paths, while presenting copious opportunities for attendees to learn from current industry leaders.
“The Career in Sports Forum was a fantastic experience,” said Kerst, who will be returning for a fifth year in 2020-21. “I learned more from the three-day virtual conference than I ever thought possible via Zoom.”
Kerst graduated with honors in May with a degree in Management from the Tippie College of Business, as well as earning minors in Spanish and Sport and Recreation Management.
Kerst applied for the opportunity in February when the UI Student-Athlete Academic Services staff promoted it.
“I learned how to establish an effective personal brand and take steps towards my dream of becoming an athletic director."Senior Jason Kerst
“Industry leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds shared their expertise, personal journeys, and best advice for aspiring sport professionals,” Kerst said. “I had the chance to network with experts at the institutional, conference, and national levels, as well as NFL and NBA executives.”
The networking opportunity was an invaluable opportunity for the Michigan native, who has high aspirations in collegiate athletics.
“I learned how to establish an effective personal brand and take steps towards my dream of becoming an athletic director,” said Kerst.
Kerst said that the virtual conference went far beyond career development.
“We dove into topics such as strengths-based leadership, defining core values, and using the avenue of sport for social change,” Kerst said.
He said that his favorite session was “Finding Your ‘Why’ in Sports,” which was led by Ole Miss Head Women’s Basketball Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin.
Kerst has been a leader on and off the tennis court during his time in Iowa City. In May, Kerst was the recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regional Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award and Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award. The Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President also received one of the Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Awards and is a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
The four-year letterman was part of the singles lineup that recorded a 12-2 overall mark, achieved its highest national ranking in program history (No. 20), and was on pace to qualify for the program’s first NCAA Tournament before the season was canceled in March due to concerns over the coronavirus global pandemic.